Title: Hand in Hand
Rating: Overall, R
Category: Angsty, humorous, adventuresome froth.
Summary: Giles discovers a prophecy (shocker!) that involves Cordy and Angel.
Spoilers: A sequel to, consecutively, In the Dark and Fine Tuning, both available at Just Fic & GTC/A. Highly recommend that you read those first. In the Dark began during Epiphany and took off on its own from there. So this could be called part of the In the Darkverse.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask.
Notes: Dudes, it’s been like 4 years. Be gentle.
Feedback: Would be appreciated. As would currency in twenties and fifties.
“One-horned demon of Candascean descent…” Cordelia read the notation before looking at the accompanying sketch. “I don’t see a horn, maybe this is the wrong….” She squinted, looking closer. “Oh. I didn’t think THAT was the horn. Heh.”
She set the book aside and made a few notes on her laptop, absently chewing on her bottom lip as she pecked away at the keys. The database was coming along nicely; Wesley would be pleased. Of course, Wesley was pleased at the Star Trek Next Generation Marathon, Elton John, and Earl Grey tea, so what made Wesley tick was an endless source of amusement to Cordy.
The lobby of the Hyperion was quiet tonight. The guys were out responding to one of Cordy’s visions; demons in the south side, yada yada, people in danger, yada yada, appetite for toes……now that was a new one.
Cordy had slipped on a pair of converse all stars and tied ‘em tight before lying down for a bit to recover from the pain inducing sitcom in her head. Didn’t hurt to be safe. And her toenails were freshly painted and nice looking, so she was playing it wise.
A handful of ibuprofen later, she was feeling better and had gotten up to work on Wesley’s current project, cataloguing demons into an instantly accessible database that they could carry around with them.
Fred was upstairs, probably asleep from the exhaustion that comes from lifting numerous tacos to one’s mouth, over and over again.
The quiet was…..quiet. Nice. Cordy had moved to the Hyperion almost a week ago; lock, stock, and shoe collection. Moved in with Angel, to be precise. Moved into the suite that was now in a construction mess as she had told Angel that the closet was too small and if she was gonna share a space with a vampire, she needed breathing room.
And a large dresser.
Since they were still in the stage where she hadn’t driven him totally nuts yet, he’d set about building a larger closet and making more room. And living with Angel…well that went beyond closet space.
Her life with Angel was taking her to places she had no map for, new roads and destinations she never thought she’d find. For one thing, he was the only dork bigger than Wesley, and here she was, falling completely for him. He had the whole handsome broody thing going, and an endless wardrobe of black.
She’d bought him some khaki Dockers and a Nautica Oxford Broadcloth shirt, button down, and he’d so looked like not Angel that she couldn’t stand it. The clothes went back and he was all broody and in black again, and it was fine. She smiled, picturing him in the preppy clothes for a moment.
He’d looked like he felt stupid and uncomfortable, and she had sighed and given up. But this was better. He was more Angel being…Angel.
He was dorky and goofy and kind and had a depth of compassion she hadn’t realized before. He was funny and geeky and strong and solid and he made her feel like she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He liked to touch, even just casually holding her hand while they watched TV, or absently stroking her hair while he read a book.
It was a new experience for her, to live with someone, but so far it was going ok.
Not that there weren’t kinks in the system. He didn’t like to go out for fun at all. Watching him drink blood wasn’t too bad, but the occasional dribble down the chin was kinda unnerving. And he took possessiveness to entirely new heights. He slept with his arm tight around her; as if he was scared she’d slip away.
He had curtailed her outings with the guys on demon recon, and tried to disguise it by telling her that Wesley was expecting a book FedEx that she needed to sign for; by telling her that some appointment was due to show up to hire them; and by telling her of a sudden need for her to sharpen some blades.
She’d seen through each and every excuse, and was still unsure how to approach him on it. He wanted her safe, she knew that, but she couldn’t be sheltered the way he was trying to. She was part of this, had been from the get go. That was a conversation that needed to be had. She’d do the talking, he’d do the listening, and she’d get her way.
Cordyland was lovely sometimes, all dreamy and totally unrealistic.
And the claiming. Christ on a pogo stick. She had never been aware of anyone the way she was of her….mate? Bloody Harry? Boyfriend with a bite? She didn’t even know how to describe what they were. She’d asked him if it was like being married and he’d gotten that panicky look on his face so she’d glared at him and said, “God you’re such a guy” before stalking away, feeling a tangible wave of relief from him.
But she knew. She knew where he was and when he was near. She often felt a pull, a tug from him in her mind. And she knew that this was about as close to forever that she was going to get. That was still a work in progress in her mind. That was the behemoth she was trying to wrap her thoughts around. So if Angel thought that sometimes she was a little snappish, a little cranky….well he had only himself to blame.
A prickling sizzled its way along her spine just before the door opened and Larry, Moe, and Curly came stalking in. She grinned at her guys, seeing the “We men. We hunt. We kill. We want cheesecake” expressions on their faces.
“You guys take care of Dr. Scholl and his toe fetish?”
Wesley nodded, tugging the leather harness off that held two crossed scimitars at his back. “Really an odd thing, actually, it fed off of flesh but preferred toes. Not sure if there is kink within the demon world, but…”
“Way too much info, Wes, and thanks for the visual.” She laughed and turned to Angel, who was unloading blades from His boots and laying them on a table. “What about you, Handsome? Have some fun dealing with the podiatrist demon?”
“Is it me or are they getting weirder?” Angel pulled out a large claymore from under his leather coat and placed it alongside the smaller blades.
“Boy howdy, now that’s a question to ponder.” Gunn set two small axes on the table, throwing a bland look to Angel. “Is the demon detective agency finding that the otherworldly and violent community of demons is getting weird? Because up to now, they were so milktoast and normal.”
Angel conceded the point, nodding before he shrugged out of his coat and tossed it on the back of a chair, then leaning over Cordy’s shoulder to peer at the database. “Whatcha doing, there?”
Cordy rolled her eyes. “Well, under the beard of working on this database, I’m being kept from going on any mission that you think is dangerous, harmful, demanding, or requires any movement. That is pretty much what I’m doing.”
Silence fell for a moment before both Gunn and Wesley spoke at the same moment.
“Shazam! Look at the time! Gonna go catch some z’s and be back to happyland tomorrow!” And Gunn was out the door before they could respond.
“Speaking of which…” Wesley backed away slowly, as if avoiding a crazed animal. “Big day, need…um….rest. That’s the ticket. I’ll just pop upstairs and…um….rest.” And he shot up the stairs like he’d been fired from a cannon.
Cordy looked up at Angel, who was looking slightly scared. “Did you really think I couldn’t figure it out? Not blonde, Angel. Kinda am onto you.”
Angel straightened up and walked away a few steps, finally turning to lean back against the counter. “OK, let’s do this.”
Cordy stared at him for a moment a sigh welling up before she spoke. “Here’s the thing. Just don’t treat me like I’m stupid.”
Angel looked startled. “Cordy I don’t think you’re..”
“I know you don’t. I know that completely. You’re protecting me.” She smiled a little. “And let’s face it, Angel. You’re protecting the gang. You can’t do your best if you’re worried about me, so I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. Just…don’t lie to me. I’m not delicate.”
He looked at her steadily. “No, you’re not. You’re the strongest woman I know. I just…..”
“Yeah, worry. Because I care. And I want you happy and safe and content. But safe is a huge one for me.”
“So….here’s the deal.”
“There’s no deal, Cordelia. This is the way it is.”
“Do your knuckles ever get scraped up from dragging the floor? That’s gotta hurt.”
Angel smiled a bit at that, that was his Cordy. The best defense was a good offensive snark. “Cordy….”
“As I was saying. Here’s the deal. I get this, I do. And I’m not the fighter you guys are, I’m not all Lara Croft. But there are times you need me, and there are times I’m gonna go with. Not like I LIKE fighting, Angel. Just…let me be a part of this.”
Angel’s gaze held hers, steady and warm. “OK. But my word is law on this, Cordy. I say you’re out of it, you are, understood?”
“Yes, Hitler, I got it. Jeeze. Like I want to go break nails and get smacked on a daily basis.
“You’re in a World War II place? Really? Wanna go upstairs and pretend you’re Poland and I’ll invade you?”
Cordy laughed before she could stop herself, she loved this side of him. Standing up, she gave him a considering appraisal. “I hear you got a massive gun, and you know how to use it.”
“Well now, some say I’m a marksman.” And he took her hand and led her to the stairs, her soft giggle a gentle melody to the night.
Somewhere in a drafty damp castle in England….
Desperate times called for strong whiskey. The hand that poured the rich brew from the decanter to the glass trembled slightly. A sip was taken, fire down his throat that pooled to his stomach. There was no mistaking the part of the prophecy that had been revealed.
He tossed the remainder of the shot back and poured another, breathing deeply. He had things to do. He needed to make arrangements, pack, contact the Organization, and book a flight. He was going to Los Angeles, and he was going to enlist the help of someone he hated.
Giles was going to visit Angel. And they were going to save the world.